KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
10th September 2019
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One thing that doesn't sit right about my job is that I'm part of the drive towards encouraging people to ditch what may be perfectly serviceable old kitchens, bathrooms and bedroom furniture in favour of new designs and trending colours. Doesn't fit with protecting our environment, does it?
A woman I've been talking to about recycling, believes that since everything we use comes from the earth, we should really be able to safely return it to the earth - albeit perhaps in a different form. She feels we should be thinking differently about the whole recycling 'thing' and I agreed that she has a point. We both felt that it's the way we so carelessly discard things we've used that's causing many of the problems.
In talking about products made from recycled plastics she proudly told me about her new blankets, unaware that the fibres leach into the washing machine (and thus our waterways) when washed. She was impressed by my loft insulation (no washing required) which is still going strong several years after installation. If you missed reading about it, the product - made from 100% recycled plastic bottles - costs roughly the same as conventional insulation yet has a higher thermal value and doesn't require use of protective clothing during fitting.
Trendy sunglasses made from recycled materials that come with a lifetime warranty were new to me and when they're funded by a Kickstarter campaign that reaches target within 24-hours, you know the manufacturer is onto something good. But it's not just the product that's eco-friendly - the packaging and cleaning cloths are made from recycled materials too, in a low-energy process. And for every backer, manufacturer Avalon collects one Kilo of plastic from the ocean and for each pair of sunglasses produced, it will be recycling one plastic bottle (www.kickstarter.com). And when you consider all the plastics we thought we'd seen the last of, coming back to us from Malaysia, we'd do well to find more ways of making something useful from the stuff!
What I'd be interested in learning, is what happens to the products being replaced by all this new stuff I'm writing about. Do consumers ever ask what you're going to do with it (particularly the bulky stuff) when it's removed? Does it go to the tip or does your organisation (or one you work with) use it to make new, but perhaps different products? Are we so worried about straws and stirrers that we're missing what's really important here?
30th May 2019